(CN) – The 2nd Circuit refused to reinstate a class action over “Operation Stinking Badges,” a joint federal-New York City policing policy that criminalizes the possession of phony police gear.
The policy makes it a crime to possess “any uniform, shield, buttons, wreaths, numbers or other insignia of emblem in any way resembling that worn by members of the police force.”
Lead plaintiffs Lateif Dickerson, Clyde Davison, Jr. and Jimmy Hogans claimed their arrests, incarcerations and prosecutions under the policy violated their constitutional rights. They filed a class action on behalf of those nabbed under “Operation Stinking Badges,” which was inspired by the 1948 movie “The Treasure of Sierra Madre.”
There was no evidence that the men used the phony NYPD badges to gain entry to 26 Federal Plaza, and the charges against them were later dropped or dismissed.
The men sued Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, New York City and officers Chris Pappas, Thomas Mahoney, Karlene Torres and Raymond Brockmann for allegedly violating their First, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights.
A federal judge in Manhattan ruled that the claims lacked merit, and the federal appeals court agreed.
“One of the plain purposes of the statute is to prohibit persons from bringing into secure facilities unauthorized badges that may later be used to impersonate a police officer and gain further unimpeded access to restricted areas,” Judge Robert Sack wrote for the three-judge panel. “It was this initial prohibited act that the plaintiffs were arrested for engaging in here.”